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Wednesday, February 27, 2019


This has been such a wonderful book to read. The author gives us a story of two women both looking for forgiveness and acceptance.  Throughout the story the author references what happened in the first book which helps readers who haven't read the first in this emotional series.

I loved that we got to know more about Sarah in this story. After finding out someone has impersonated you,  become almost a member of the family and gotten close to your grandparents, it is hard for Sarah to forgive Michelle. Sarah has other issues as well, like not knowing her grandparents even existed thanks to her mother. She still has the question of who her father is and hopes to get some answers soon.

 I loved reading how Sarah and Michelle interacted with each other. It was hard for them to live in the same house and Sarah does not trust Michelle at all. Michelle had a very hard life and we find out a bit more about her past which helps readers relate to her. We all make mistakes but being forgiven is a choice which Sarah is still having a hard time doing.. When Sarah discovers a jar in the basement one day, she realizes that it is filled with scriptures. The scriptures she read were exactly what she needed that very day. She is an angry young woman who isn't even sure if God is real sometimes.

I enjoyed watching Sarah slowly try to forgive Michelle but it will take lots of work and prayer. The jar is very significant and I would love to have one myself. That jar is filled with hope, forgiveness and love. Will Sarah allow God back into her life? Can she forgive Michelle for hurting her? I absolutely adored Sarah's grandparents. They are such a giving couple and full of love and compassion. They open their home with open arms and you can't help but feel the presence of God there. It would be nice to sit and visit with them and enjoy a meal as you are surrounded by love. Their steadfast faith encouraged others around them.

As Sarah finds herself at a crossroad one day, her emotions overflow and it was a beautiful well written scene in the story. It is never easy to swallow your pride but Sarah will find that she isn't alone as she struggles with her past. The story has many ups and downs which keeps readers intrigued. There are some emotional moments that made me cry. I highly recommend this story of forgiveness, love and the importance of family. I look forward to the next in the series.

The Deceived FB Banner

About the Book

The Deceived final front
Book: The Deceived
Author: Kelly Harrel
Genre: Christian Contemporary/ young adult
Release Date: January, 2019
My dream is to be a screenplay writer. When my characters come alive, so do I. Writing is like air to me; take that away and I’ll suffocate.
My dad’s dream is for me to play professional baseball. I hate baseball, but I’m really good at it. And if I play the game right, I can use it to get a full-ride scholarship to my dream film school. That’s the plan, anyway. As long as I don’t mess up.
But the other thing I’m really good at? Messing up. Don’t believe me? The girl who likes me is an atheist. I have to out drink my teammates at parties so they know to take me seriously. I’m pretty sure I’m addicted to pain pills. I made an absolute fool of myself during the most important game of the year.
Obviously God hates me. Why else would He stick me with an overbearing father who’s only happy if I’m the best of the best—on field and off? Why else would He take away my one chance to live my dream?
Hi, my name’s Danny Morton. Welcome to my messed up life and the start of how God saved me.

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Author

Kelly HarrelKelly Harrel is the author of the Lauren Drake series and its spinoff, the Once Lost series. Convertible rides to the beach with the love of her life, Jeff, are her favorite. She also loves hanging out with her son and daughter, and she adores peppermint mochas. Kelly strives to usher others into a deeper relationship with Christ through her speaking and writing. To learn more about Kelly or to book a speaking engagement, visit

More from Kelly

I fell in love with Danny Morton when I first heard his voice at two am. His biting remarks made me laugh and cringe at the same time. They also made me jump up to take notes. Maybe because once upon a time I was a sarcastic teen who lived too much in my own mind. Or maybe because I had a lot of questions about God at his age too. Like Danny, I yearned for a close relationship with God even though I felt surrounded by hypocrites.
Yes, I fell in love with Danny from the very beginning. It was impossible not to. His passion is inspiring. Even as young as he is, he has a dream he’s determined to pursue. All he wants is to write, which is also something I can understand.
As soon as I began writing his story, I knew there were a lot of deeper issue to deal with. Being the mother of two teens, I’ve seen firsthand how independent they can be. They have their own ideas, personalities, and desires. Two questions came to mind. Why do teens raised in the church fall into drugs and alcohol and fall away from the Lord? Is there a way to prevent it? Finding no simple answers, I cried out to the Lord to help me understand. I asked Him to give me Danny’s story to teach and inspire others. That’s when not only Danny but his entire family came alive to me.
I thought the most disturbing thing about The Deceived might be Danny’s drugs and alcohol abuse. Yet with each revision of the book, something else became more disturbing—the way his family treated him. This novel became a personal reminder that lukewarm Christianity can destroy those we love the most.
I pray this young adult novel will be picked up by all generations. Parents should examine their own relationship with the Lord, how they treat their teens, and the pressures their teens face every day. My prayer is that teens will find a friend in Danny as well as the determination to recognize and stand against the temptations they face.
One of my favorite scenes in The Deceived is when Danny goes to a party the day after Thanksgiving. Not being a very social guy, he comes up with a hilarious way to identify people. You might need to search different types of trees while you read the scene but you will laugh out loud. While Danny has a lot of great one-liners, the conversations I enjoyed writing the most were those between him and his sister, Lydia. I was blessed with a great relationship with my older brother in our teen years, and those conversations remind me of our late-night talks.
The Deceived will make you laugh, cry, and consider family dynamics and your faith in a new way. And when you get to the last page, remember, there’s more to come.


The story is one that could be heard from teens all around us as they fall into peer pressure. Danny is a young teen who has grown up in a family that is tight knit at times. The father is overbearing and puts pressure on Danny to be the best and to make sure he fits in. That is a sure fire way to make a kid make wrong choices. I can't blame his father for everything, because the brutal truth is Danny makes his own choices. 

The relationship Danny has with his father is one I found very compelling. A father wants his child to succeed, but Danny's father expected nothing less than perfect at everything he did. I wondered why his father was so hard on him. The explosive fight Danny and his dad have one night is powerful. It is well written and so realistic. How many families endure a domineering parent?   There is one bright star in Danny's life and that is his sister Lydia. She and Danny are very close and she is always watching out for him. 

As Danny starts to be rebellious he turns to the wrong crowd and slowly forgets about God. It was not a huge surprise that he started doing drugs because the kids he was hanging around were all doing it. Danny is desperate to be accepted and the story shows us how easy a person can fall into a trap thinking they are cool hanging out with the wrong type of person. Danny's story is no different than a lot of kids today. They feel rejected by their family and seek out something to make them feel better. It's easy to see that Danny has checked out and is slowly spiraling down a road to destruction. 

There is a lot of references to drug use and sex among teens in the book. It is a reality that faces youth today. The author paints a realistic picture of a teen who turns his back on God and follows a path that will lead him into lies, drugs and away from his faith.  One of the most powerful parts of the story for me is when Danny's sister  shares her testimony at youth on a Wednesday night. It's very emotional and for just a bit, Danny's eyes are opened to what his sister had gone through. Can Lydia's testimony break through Danny's hardened heart? 

The book is good and really captures the struggles of a teen, how peer pressure can influence their decisions  and what happens when a parent expects too much from their child. I can't wait to read what happens next in this emotional journey with Danny.

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.

Blog Stops

Texas Book-aholic, February 27
janicesbookreviews, February 28
The Becca Files, March 6
Multifarious, March 8
Carpe Diem, March 10


To celebrate her tour, Kelly is giving away a grand prize of a
$25 Amazon Gift Card plus the entire Lauren Drake Series on Kindle (The adult Danny Morton is in books 2 – 4)
1st place winner will receive a paperback copy of The Deceived
2nd – 4th place winners will receive an eBook copy of The Deceived!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.

Tuesday, February 26, 2019

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About the Book

leaving darkness coverTitle: Leaving Darkness
Author: Greg Schaffer
Genre: Christian Fiction
Release date: October 31, 2018
Long-haul truck driver Lowell Ferguson is on the brink of suicide. He is haunted by the guilt of a horrible secret from his senior year of high school. Therapy and antidepressants aren’t able to lift him out of depression. At twenty-eight years old, he believes his life has dissolved into a meaningless annoyance. Only the strong bond with his lone friend—a Chihuahua named Rufus—keeps him from choosing death. But when Lowell learns Rufus may have cancer, he fears there will be no reason left to live if his beloved dog dies.
While awaiting the diagnosis, he comes across a flier for a Christian support group promising hope and freedom. A skeptic and an apatheist, he nonetheless reluctantly decides to join the group. Through this joining, he finds what he has been yearning for—a path toward leaving the darkness of depression. This first step provides Lowell the courage to do what he must to escape his guilt and finally confront his past.

Click here to purchase your copy.

About the Author

greg schafferGreg Schaffer participated in a small Christian-based group ministry in 2011 and became a facilitator with the ministry to help others find their direction toward a purposeful life. His firsthand experiences of lives transformed through such healing groups led him to write Leaving Darkness, hoping the tale of transformation through God’s grace may encourage those lost in their own darkness to reach out for help. The author of two previous novels, Greg lives in Franklin, Tennessee, with his wife and three rescue dogs.

Guest Post from Greg

As first a group participant and then a volunteer for Restore Small Groups for many years, I’ve seen firsthand the healing power of small group ministries. Many want to change but don’t know how. Leaving Darkness tells the fictional story of one lost in depression to the point of contemplating suicide who happens upon such a Christian-based ministry. Although he is reluctant at first, he gives the process a chance, and through it leaves his darkness, finds his faith, and becomes the person God meant for him to be. I was called to write this story in hope that someone with similar struggles may read Leaving Darkness and realize that there is a way out of the darkness when everything else has failed.


If the author was going for a dark story with in your face realism, he definitely achieved it. It is not an easy book to read and at times I felt darkness surround me. The author takes two people as teens that leads them on a road to destruction . It will span into their adulthood that will find them on the brink of depression and guilt.

It's hard to say why one of them carried the guilt all those years while the other buried it deep inside. Lowell is the kind of person who was a follower in his teens. He trusted that  his friend Alan would do the right thing but never did. One traumatic event can have different effects on people. In this case Lowell spiraled out of control . He carried the guilt of that night with him everywhere he went. He knew that he would never be at peace until he made things right. Lowell became a very reclusive person with only one thing important to him. He had been given a dog who made him feel  alive again and they became constant companions.

Alan became successful and very powerful. He is driven by money, deceit and greed. He believed that money and power were the most important things in the world. Under all that superficial fake exterior is a lonely, bitter man.

Lowell slowly changes and tries to turn his life around. He is surrounded by friends who share Jesus with him and I could see his heart changing. There are some great moments in the story where Lowell searches his heart and struggles with trusting God. Rick is someone who reaches out to Lowell and becomes like a mentor to him. I had a few reservations about Rick, but overall a good character with a big heart. There were a few times I thought the story got a bit preachy and wanted the author to not continually have Rick witness to Lowell. Sometimes we need to back off and just pray for someone. 

The story is filled with alcoholism , greed, infidelity and a lack of believing in God. Two people who experienced the same traumatic event will go in different directions to run from the truth. Lowell was easy to identify with because he wanted to give his burdens to God. He was a broken man and wanted to make things right. 

I felt a real tug on my heart towards Alan. He is the one that doesn't want to admit he has done something wrong. He wants to keep his reputation stellar but the past is quickly catching up to him. How many of us have tried to run from our past? We become angry and will do anything to run from our past. This story illustrates the pain someone goes through when they are lost in the world. God always has a way for us to not only deal with the past but lets us choose to forgive others, to forgive ourselves and be set free from the bondage of what the enemy has used to keep us as his hostage believing lies. 

Lowell and Alan will take a journey that will either lead them to freedom or to continue a life of deceit and lies. Which path will they choose?

I received a copy of this book from Celebrate Lit. The review is my own opinion.

Blog Stops

Godly Book Reviews, February 16
Bukwurmzzz, February 18
Power of Words, February 19 (Spotlight)
Maureen’s Musings, February 21
Bibliophile Reviews, February 23
Janices book reviewsFebruary 24
Carpe Diem, February 25
Texas Book-aholic, February 26
Just the Write Escape, February 28
Bigreadersite, March 1
Artistic Nobody, March 1 (Spotlight)


To celebrate his tour, Greg is giving away a grand prize of a $50 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link the below to enter.